Boxing Day Tube strike: Shoppers hit by delays

Tube trains sit at a depot in Morden, south London, on Monday The dispute centres on whether Aslef drivers should receive additional pay and leave for Boxing Day work

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Travellers on London's Underground have been disrupted by a 24-hour strike staged by drivers.

The dispute is over the Aslef union's demand for extra pay for staff working on the Boxing Day public holiday.

Most Tube lines have experienced some level of disruption since the strike began at midnight, according to Transport for London's website.

London Underground boss Howard Collins described the demand for "triple pay" as "outrageous".

The strike affected shoppers heading for the start of Christmas sales, and football fans.

Transport for London (TfL) had warned of "severe disruption" and urged travellers to check its website before starting their journeys.

Circle Line suspended

Throughout the day its website has been reporting most lines suffering some level of disruption.

The Bakerloo Line was running between Queen's Park and Elephant and Castle only, while there were no Central Line trains.

Start Quote

We have reduced the number of train drivers working this year, giving people more quality time off”

End Quote Howard Collins London Underground

The entire Circle Line was suspended, and the only District Line trains in operation were between High Street Kensington and Ealing Broadway, plus West Ham to Upminster.

The Hammersmith and City Line was not running east of Baker Street, and on the Jubilee line there was a special service operating between Stanmore and Finchley Road and between Stratford and North Greenwich, but no trains on the rest of the line.

There were Metropolitan Line trains from Harrow-on-the-Hill to Baker Street only, while the Northern Line was running between Morden and Stockwell, and Edgware and Euston only.

The only Piccadilly Line services were between Heathrow Airport and Hammersmith, and Finsbury Park to Cockfosters.

There was a special service operating on the Victoria Line.

Mr Collins said more trains than had been anticipated had run during Monday.

"We are operating a service on most Tube lines, including key lines serving the West End, supported by London's 700 bus routes and extra buses.

"However, the strike is causing disruption."

'Long-standing agreement'

Arsenal moved their Premier League game with Wolves from Monday to Tuesday because of the strike, but Chelsea's game with Fulham went ahead at Stamford Bridge.

The BBC's Daniel Boettcher said Aslef had argued that choosing to work on Boxing Day should be voluntary and drivers who agreed to do so should be paid extra as well as getting a day off in lieu.

A woman reads a sign at Clapham North Tube station on Monday Special services were running on all lines due to open on Monday

But Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan told the BBC News Channel triple pay was "not quite what we've asked for", although it had been a negotiating point.

"What we're asking for is a guaranteed level of service where people can be guaranteed at least every other year, every third year, a day off, and - for those who do come in - an incentive." He said the nature of the incentive was still being negotiated.

"[London Underground] have picked on the worst aspect of a comment that was made and have used it continually throughout this process."

Mr Whelan said the original dispute focused on "quality time off".

He said the union had realised an agreement it had made in the mid-90s, when virtually no trains ran on Boxing Day, had "become devalued" as the number of trains running on Boxing Day had increased to be the same as any other day of the week.

"It's unfortunate that it happens at a time when we are in recession and possibly going into a double-dip. Truly, we'd like to see and help London business grow," said Mr Whelan.

Salaries 'inclusive'

London Underground says it has a long-standing agreement with all of its trade unions covering bank holidays. It has described the demand for additional payment as outrageous.

Chief operating officer Howard Collins told BBC Radio 4 that London Underground had already met some of Aslef's concerns.

"We have reduced the number of train drivers working this year, giving people more quality time off - down to 880 drivers from 1,100 last year," he said.

But Mr Collins said he could not "pay people twice" and that train drivers' salaries were all-inclusive and covered Boxing Day and Christmas Day.

"If I did this for this trade union, then 18,000 other workers who've agreed the '92 agreement would have to be paid as well," he added.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 238.

    @219- As I see it they're using their market position to maximise profit. Isn't that the kind of thing you no nonsense right wingers approve of?

  • rate this

    Comment number 237.

    people don't intentionally lose a day's pay for no reason. If you're moderately inconvenienced for a few hours..tough!
    Get over it!

  • rate this

    Comment number 236.

    @ 230 Gingerdan - All of us in the Private Sector? Speak for yourself mate we got 4% last year and we're getting 5% this coming year. The public sector have got nothing for the past 2 years, will get at most 1% for the next 2 when the average pay rise is 2%. If YOU are not happy with what you've got, go and find another job, don't try and dictate to others. The right to stike is enshrined in law.

  • rate this

    Comment number 235.

    90% of shoppers won't face delays. They don't live in London...
    Classic reporting from the M25 Centric BBC.

  • rate this

    Comment number 234.

    Automation is the way forward, and the TUC are pushing hard for that brighter future. I've never heard of a union so backwards in my entire life. Aren't they suppose to protect the long term future of their members? What other trade pays their staff £25 a minute for finishing their shift late? And they're still complaining?!?

  • rate this

    Comment number 233.

    The only realatively unaffected line is the Docklands Light Rail line (or is it Driver Less Rail!) with only a bit closed to "planned engineering works". Who else get's *3 and a day off in Leu - not even bankers!

  • rate this

    Comment number 232.

    This foolishness is an attempt to take pay bargaining back to the bad old days when nobody knew what they were paid. The pay settlement of 20 years ago recognised the valuable role tube drivers play in the London economy through the provision of a dependable public service.

    It contrasts with the manifest stupidity of bonus payments for bogus performance as displayed by the banking fraternity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 231.

    I'm a tube driver and apologise for my feckless colleagues. When we signed up it was explained that our (very good) salary contained an element of recompense for unsocial hours & working bank holidays. To start bleating on and demanding triple time and a day off now is disgraceful and dishonourable, I am ashamed of these skivers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 230.

    So all of us working in the private sector, with NO pay rises and NO pensions have to get on with it. All of you are only in the public sector because you woke up one day and thought "Gravy train". What gives you thr right to not work just because you are unhappy with your pay? If you cannot take it any more, GROW UP AND GET ANOTHER JOB.

    We are all sick of your greed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 229.

    You lucky Londoners! NO public transport at all here in Bristol :-(

  • rate this

    Comment number 228.

    The management should train (no pun intended) a load more drivers and let the market decide how much they are worth when there is oversupply.

  • rate this

    Comment number 227.

    By 2025 two lines will have been converted to driverless operation while a third will be in the process. The trains will not be unmanned, they’ll have train attendants, they’ll all be in the RMT along with the control room operators and technicians needed to maintain the new automated systems. Everyone on the Tube will be in RMT and when they go one strike there will be no service at all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 226.

    For those calling for automation - let's automate absolutely everything then we can all draw on the state. All equal - problem solved!
    Just tax the automatons.

  • rate this

    Comment number 225.

    @ goldenbales. 3 points. 1- My name is football related, not my poilitical beliefs. 2- I also believe nurses and doctors should be paid alot more than they are as they are the real people who deserve well paid jobs and leave. and 3- if you read my last comment I said I appreciated my job.

  • rate this

    Comment number 224.

    I am very left wing in my politics but I find it impossible to muster up any support for the protests of these train drivers. To be paid 50k for what`s arguably a job that does not require very many skills in comparison to a nurse or a teacher - who are on average paid significantly less - and then complain you`ve not been paid extra for working on a bank holiday, in this economic crisis? Please!

  • rate this

    Comment number 223.

    Golden Bales @212- My wife's a nurse too. Maybe if they organised themselves and stood up forthemselves the way the tube drivers do their pay and conditions might be better and they wouldn't get mucked about by NHS managers. ASLEF have been trying to broker a negotiated deal for 2 years and want to fund this proposal by giving up other payments. Not that you hearthat in the anti - union press.

  • rate this

    Comment number 222.

    @202 ... wrong re the planes :-/ , I've seen the auto land and auto takeoff in action! (mostly used in heavy fog etc)

    The principle of what you're saying is VERY valid tho!

  • rate this

    Comment number 221.

    Still, those economic vital areas which are heavily unionised do their best to extract excessive demands.

    No-one would refuse basic decency of time off and decent pay, but this union strategy is not about decency.

    Lets not forget that you dont have to be a banker to be excessively greedy & imoral.

    Look at history, increased demands have been met by future job losses to many workers

  • rate this

    Comment number 220.

    Let me get this right - £44,500 p.a. rising to £52,000 in the next couple of years, 35-hour weeks and 43 days holiday p.a. and tube drivers want what? The sooner tube trains are fully automated the better. Accelerate that programme please Boris.

  • rate this

    Comment number 219.

    Tube drivers are just part of the work-shy lazy left. Unions have an automatic position of never agreeing with conditions to justify their existance. Marxists the lot of them.

    Also shoppers are idiots for shopping the day after Christmas. Its another form of greed; scrabbling and climbing over each other for a useless and uneccessary bargain.


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